I usually start with the weather and what’s growing, but the weather hasn’t been exciting this week. More like sullen, chilly, occasionally rainy, often grey, although there have been some bright mornings I quite enjoyed. I really haven’t gotten outside enough. We are enjoying the last of the crocus, and the daffodils have begun blooming. I am rather sad because I have finally noticed that the town road crew dumped a great deal of gravel under our lilacs where we had a lot of bulbs, and I haven’t yet gotten out to rake it off, and may not. Poor things. Spring bulbs are amazing at growing out through dead leaves but 3″ of gravel is probably enough to thwart them.
Where the heck did the month go? End of the month already? I think the problem is that we haven’t gone to any events, and that makes it hard to track the passage of time. “Nothing happened.” (whether it did or not)
I finished some stuff- trying to finish more. I don’t know if I mentioned or not, but after reading Lights Out by Ted Koppel, I started thinking about our supplies and which things we might have three months supplies on hand. The important question is- how much do you need (and how does it store)? As we approach the end of the month, it looks like we’ll have gone through 13 rolls of toilet paper this month. I’ve heard that 1 roll is supposed to last 1 person 5 days (although also 100 rolls a year, which would be 3.6 days per roll). I figure for four of us a three months supply would be 40 rolls. But I also imagine that in case of a catastrophe, TP would make GREAT trade goods! I also have been tracking my consumption of chocolate. (another traditional trade good, but it doesn’t last as well.) I started the month with a 5 oz bag of Ghirardellli dark chocolates squares (I think about a third of an ounce each) and allocated myself one per day, but have made them last the month (by forgetting occasionally). I have NOT lost a lot of weight the way I did last time I went low carb. I suspect it’s because I decided low-carb was more balanced than no carb. I’m losing, but the other day I tried on the linen gown I’m finishing for Coronation, and it’s a bit tight. I guess I was more fit when I started it, so I’m going to be a bit more vigilant on things like not putting honey in my tea. Oh well. John has decided to keep low-carb until the end of the month. I miss baking terribly, and it’s strange eating two vegetables rather than a starch and a veg with my meat at supper. I make things like quiche with ham slices for the crust for breakfast. Willow has liked the occasional sandwich steak as she’s always had a greater need for meat than the rest of us.
This week we’ve switched around our chores, Kat’s making the salads now instead of John, and he’s doing the dishes. (Both are slower at the job they aren’t used to doing.) Willow is emptying the dishrack and setting the table. It’s a bit disorienting. Kat got four commissions last week (I think) for her lolikats. Last night one of her customers wrote asking where her hat was because she’d gotten a notice that it had been shipped. As Kat hadn’t sent that, we figure it’s a program glitch, and she stopped working on the previous one and quickly did that one, and sent it out this morning. Electronic communication DOES make our lives easier, but when it messes up, it’s very stressful. Tonight I’ll be trying to interview Jeff Cerneson, a Cunningman I had scheduled for two weeks ago, but we couldn’t get into the studio. He says that sometimes that happens- the way some people can’t wear watches because they always stop. We’re hoping it will work tonight. Other programing annoyances are intentional. Last Saturday I got my automatic announcement that my checking account was under $100, so I made an transfer from my savings. I kept checking it all day Monday to confirm that the transfer went in, but it didn’t go in until Tuesday morning, although it was in their system as “pending” from five o’clock Saturday. Apparently any deposits (or transfers) on the weekend aren’t applied until they’ve applied all the debits first on Monday. Luckily I didn’t have any coming out, but damn! that’s a sleazy way of accounting to maximize the “overdraft” penalties! I seem to remember fuming about this some years ago. It’s not as though we can do anything about it but fume. We could try to live “cash only” but that would keep you from a lot of things- anything that requires a credit record for example. We are becoming a country of the banks, by the banks and for the banks (and corporations of course). Feh!
I spent a long time on the phone with a power company asking us to change providers, it’s supposed to save us a lot of money because we’ll be paying 6.9cents per kilowatt hour rather than nearly 11 cents. But we are not big users of energy so when we’re done I think our monthly bill will go down all of about $13. Annually that may mean something, but when I did figure it out it hardly seemed worth the hassle.
I got the round shawl done- if I accept it as “I meant to do that” I suppose it’s OK, but I’m still deciding. A round shawl like this should be fine and large enough to wear doubled- folded in the middle, and I’m not sure this is bit enough for that. It is nice and warm, and I suppose I learned stuff. One thing I learned is next time leave one section open in a full circle so you can wrap it around more easily. Next month they’ve got some rainbow yarn on sale a Joanne and I may try one in that.
As I said the current project is the linen gown for coronation. I’ve finally gotten the two rows of pearls around the brocade panel. Now I want to add some accent (larger) jewels to key points in the brocade pattern, then applique a couple of brocade motifs on the sleeves (and, I hope, the collar) because they look very plain, with pearls and jewels on those as well.
The theory was that I should have something that showcased our jewels since we sell them, but I am pretty darned sure that no 7th century Anglo-Saxon lady wore clothes with that many jewels sewed on. Merovingians maybe. This is, I think, a rather later period than I’m used to. I hope it inspires others to buy jewels. When I’m done I will take a picture- and I intend to also weigh the garment, because it’s already really heavy with all those glass stones and metal settings! I shall be gorgeous! (I wonder if I can find my black silk veil to wear with it?)
Other than that I’ve spent time trying to fix the CTCW website. I seem to have forgotten half of what Brian told me last year. People have started looking at it, and I hadn’t yet taken all the workshops, panels, vendors, and speakers from last year and moved them to the archives. The website is designed to promote currently planned events. So, for example, it doesn’t display the workshops until we plug them into what time and room they are going to be in. So I have to make a redundant page to showcase them until all submissions are in (usually not until September) so we can build the schedule. Since it’s not designed for that it’s taking a LOT of cutting and pasting and adding links to do that, and worse, I have lost a lot of material that was on the old website because I didn’t extract it all before it started. I’ve lost a lot of pictures and links, and the “plug in” that’s supposed to let people buy downloads of the old workshops isn’t working, and I’m very frustrated. Thursday night I was surprised by an online Planning Meeting for CTCW. Once again I’d forgotten, but was reminded (by Lois this time). Good thing there are others helping this year! Cathy’s not doing planning this year, but she came up with a great idea: Divination lab. Knowing how much difference it makes when people actually DO something they’ve been taught, I think this is fairly brilliant.
Brian came over Friday night, it was “Wafflenight” so we had waffles and sausages, then Brian and I worked on the website. I have two pages of notes of things to fix. (sigh). No wonder I’m spending too much time at the computer and not out doing other useful and interesting things! But Maryalyce and Lois and others are working too, and I keep bouncing back and forth between being sure that this year we will finally fulfill our potential, and being sure that it’s going to tank again (and it’s all my fault!). Of course, I realize that this sort of emotional reaction is probably chemically based, so I try to hold onto the more optimistic view and keep working on it. The other day I sent out a mailing to the 30 previous speakers I most expect to return and have gotten four or five replies, which is encouraging. I expect the ones who get the email and think “No, way! you guys suck!” may not reply at all, but the one’s who think “I loved that event, I need to get back to them…” and don’t are indistinguishable from the ones we disappointed, so I spend too much time wondering what I did wrong and how I could fix it. For many I know it’s money. You can’t afford to spend money to go teach stuff, you’d at least like to break even, and we can’t afford to pay them. All the money we take in is going to the hotel. I suppose if we can get more people to come, we’ll have some money to help pay speakers costs. I can dream anyway. Brian convinced me to come to A Sacred Place Beltaine this year. There are always so many wonderful things going on, it’s hard to choose between them. Maybe next year Rites of Spring again.
I am not going to be able to get to Mithracon this year, or the 50 year Celebration, and the ASD (dowsers conference) isn’t looking good either. At least we’re going to sell at Pennsic. Willow and I have talked about trying to go to more SCA events. The biggest hurdle is that to sell at events, you have to sign up months in advance, and with the CFS, PTSD and depression, we can’t know what shape we’ll be in that far in the future. Phooey! I also noticed the Vermont Renn Faire is back. That would be fun; but we really need to get able to cope with life better.
I’m continuing with the Culture Wars book, I have now read through the anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon, and prohibition periods. I guess I now know where the “marriage is one man and one woman” thing comes from. Polygamy was the biggest problem our forefathers had with the Latter Day Saints, and it reminds me of how cultural expectations seep into our awareness when we are young and create “the way things are supposed to be”. Monogamy is not a particularly common practice, historically or around the world. I like it. I expect that a lot of people like the idea, but I can certainly see that it’s neither required by logic, nature, or even the Bible. It’s just the way it’s been done here recently. As long as there’s no coercion involved, why not? I doubt I’d want it, but it’s not like making something available forces someone to choose it. Lying about it, or actually forcing would be bad.
I also have finally learned where the famous word antidisestablishmentarianism came from. It seems to go back to the “Congress shall make no laws establishing religion” bit, and so the people arguing on the “Christian Nation” (or earlier, protestant nation) establishmentarians and those who wanted freedom of practice were the disestablishmentarians and thus it was built up. The breaking point seems to have been a case before the Supreme Court that (Reynolds vs. US) where the court held that religious tenets didn’t absolve anyone from whatever the law of the land required. You could believe in polygamy all you wanted, you just couldn’t have multiple wives. The argument was that someone who worshiped Mercury would use it as a justification to steal, or one worshipping Priapus would use it as a justification for rape. Believe what you want, but you still can’t do what you want (until the laws are changed). The thing is that once you have something deeply in your training as “this is wrong”, it doesn’t matter what arguments you hear, the way you have integrated it is going to stick with you, and all we can do is to require people to behave civillycivily, and wait for the older people to die off.
I also had a bit of a flashback to the doctor’s point of view books I like, as I read a powerful post by a doctor who was trying to deal with the fact that doctors suicide level is HUGE, but the medical establishment doesn’t give good support, but tries to cover it up. It’s hardly surprising in a profession where they try to keep people from dying and keep them healthy, that they feel huge stress because everyone dies, and most of us get sick and hurt, and as someone said in MASH (I paraphrase) “Rule one is young men die. Rule two is doctors can’t change rule one.” Why can we not help the people who need extra support and not hide (from) the problems? We’d have so many more resources to help if we didn’t waste them trying to cover up the problem. It should surprise no one that it breaks doctors hearts when they can’t help their patients. I think they also set themselves up for failure by defining death as failure. If they could just accept that some deaths are too soon, or too hard, or whatever, and see that sometimes it’s a blessing, they wouldn’t be so doomed to failure. They need to accept that you can’t make people do what’s best for them, everyone gets to make his or her own choices. I think we all hate it when we see someone we care about do something we think is going to cause more trouble for them, but that’s just how it goes. I really think patients need to stop acting like doctors are supposed to know everything. They know more- they’ve worked hard to learn more, but they’re still humans trying their best. Patients who dump the responsibility on doctors as if they were infallible are probably the ones who’ll sue if something goes wrong. Things go wrong! Bodies break and get worn out! Deal with it! Any group that’s asked to be infallible is going to have a high stress level. Duh!
I finished the Ladies of Grace Adieu, a book of short stories by the author of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norell. They were charming, and I enjoyed them. I think the florid pseudo Victorian language is easier to take in smaller doses. I’ve sent for a bunch of the Leaphorn mysteries, and started with the first, The Blessing Way. I shall probably do an entire marathon of these mysteries because the movies were good, and the first chapters I’ve read are pulling me in. I also have a graphic novel called Persepolis out, it’s an autobiagraphy about the author’s childhood and youth in Iran during and after the cultural revolution. I’m going through it slowly because like Maus, the subject is not softened by it being a “comic”. I figure first person accounts are the best way to understand something completely alien.
Ah well, I’m going to finish up now, and get ready for my podcast. I would prefer to have more fun things to share with you. Occasionally people do write back and I enjoy hearing what’s going on in other people’s lives. Frankly, while our adventures with farm animals were amusing, a list of chores, like doing laundry, cooking or preparing the conference doesn’t seem any more enthralling than commuting to an office. Kuberry wrote me this week and shared that he’s thinking of starting SCA combat again, dealing with the issues that personally, he likes being as authentic as possible, and the SCA doesn’t seem to care about that- indeed they will everyone to wear safety equipment suitable to one period, even when it isn’t their period, because “that’s the way we do it”. Oh well. He’s asked me, and I’ve agreed to let him fight for me, even though our periods are different. (At least he’s not a Norman. Although why should I care? I’m from the period where the British were the enemy, not even late enough that the Vikings were the enemy. It’s all wibbley-wobbley-timey-wimey.)
Anyway, I hope you are doing things that make you happy to be alive. If you celebrate Easter or Passover, I hope you did it in a way you enjoyed.
Until next week, fond regards
Rule 5: “You don’t waste good.”
Rule 9: “Never go anywhere without a knife.”
Rule 28: “When you need help, ask.”
Leroy Jethro Gibbs NCIS